Adult blow flies (Calliphoridae)

Adult blow flies (Calliphoridae) raised from larvae collected from a body at a crime scene. These flies are identified under a dissecting microscope in the laboratory in order that they can be used to estimate elapsed time since death.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


A pinned fly

A pinned fly raised from a larva or maggot from a homicide victim.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Transferring blow fly larva

Placing blow fly larva into an exhibit vial of alcohol, after first heat killing with hot water to enhance preservation.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Blow fly (Calliphoridae)

Blow fly (Calliphoridae) larvae in vials of alcohol for permanent preservation. Larvae are first heat killed in hot water for 5 minutes to destroy the internal enzymes then placed in alcohol. They can be kept in this manner forever. Insects collected from a crime scene are kept forever for eventual use in court.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Live blow fly larvae

Live blow fly larvae are raised in glass jars with sawdust to mimic the soil and beef liver on a paper towel to mimic the carrion. These are then placed in an incubator in order to control for temperature, lighting and humidity.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Students are introduced to some methods of forensic entomology, the use of insects to investigate crimes. They will work in groups to connect details from an actual investigation to their previously summarized information. As a class, students determine criteria for “an effective visual representation” before designing a set of three exhibit boards supporting the forensic evidence.

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